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Basic Literature Research Guide: Doing Literary Research

This is a basic introductory guide to doing literary research.


Hello! This guide is to help any student do research for literature classes. If you want to meet one-on-one with a librarian, use the profile box on this page to meet with me, or use the Humanities librarians group to find another librarian who can meet with you.

Primary Sources

Writing and Language Help

ZSR subscribes to the following items that can help you as you write papers for English classes. 

Background Resources for Literature Research

Background Resources on History, Issues, Society, etc.

If you need background information on historical events, societal issues, or other topics covered in literature here are some sources that might help. 

Searching Primo for books and more

Use Primo - the library's search interface - to locate books and other materials all in a single search. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • To find items on a theme or issue in an author's work, enter the name of the author/work and a term that best conveys the issue you are researching, e.g. Macbeth and feminis* (the asterisk is a truncation symbol that allows for word variants, such as feminist or feminism). Keep in mind that not every work of literature will have a lot of research on it -  you may need to back up from your initial search to something more broad.
  • To find works about a literary author or other figure, enter the person's name in quotes, i.e. "Jane Austen" - adding in other terms will help narrow down your results - i.e. "Jane Austen" marriage or "Maya Angelou" "civil rights" 
  • To find works around a particular genre, us that genre in your search i.e. poetry abolition or "short story" war 

Journal Databases

Literary Criticism Databases

Other Databases Of Interest

Rosalind Tedford

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Rosalind Tedford
ZSR Library
Room 457A

Instruction & Outreach Librarian

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Meghan Webb
she / her